Monday, November 19, 2018

Cold Enough For A Yeti



This past week in Ohio it snowed. It pored freezing rain. And it got really cold. This of course meant lovely fires in the fireplace all weekend.


I also started baking Christmas cookies at least the ones that freeze well. I managed to bake sugar cookies in the shape of trees and chocolate sugar cookies in the shape of snow flakes both of which I will decorate later.


All this cold made Henry And The Yeti a perfect book to snag from my reading pile. Henry believe in Yetis. Henry wants to find a Yeti. So, Henry sets out on a journey to meet a Yeti. Henry has an incredible adventure but the proof of meeting a friendly Yeti was accidentally left behind. Will Henry be mocked for the rest of his life, or will he be able to prove Yetis really exist?


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, November 12, 2018

When God Made Light


This past week we felt the repercussions of Daylight Savings Time. It now gets dark at five in the afternoon. I won't bore you with the details of our bodies adjusting to the hours being off or the early darkness. Let's just suffice it to say that we are making the best of winter darkness.


We also received the first snow of the season which required us to enjoy the bounty of wood my husband split a few weeks ago.

So although the weather outside was frightful, inside we were toasty and comfortable which makes a perfect setting for reading. And this week my library stack gave forth a book called When God Made Light. A book told in rhyme that shares creation story of light and dark in a fun and creative way. In addition to enjoying the story and the beautiful artwork, I was thrilled to see that the illustrator was a fellow Ohioan. Oh how the little things in life bring me joy.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Into The 21st Century...



The most amazing thing happened at the Stewart house this past week. Bobby, Emily, and I finally all entered the 21st Century. I traded in my teeny tiny, eight year old phone for a new one that I can actually see, and Bobby and Emily each got their very first cell phone ever. The feeling of an early arriving Christmas permeated our home for several days as we navigated the world of new tech, selfies, and texting.

New Phone Selfie
The fun thing to note about texting is that if the relatives you text don't already have your phone number in their contacts, they have no idea who is talking to them.This happened to both Bobby and me. Bobby's brother said, "Who is this?" in response to Bobby's texting him his phone number and my sister-in-law didn't even respond to my text because she thought it was a text from her family about her cousin Bobby.


I'm sure all you long time cell phone aficionados can imagine the fun we've been having and the new things we've learned in just a few short days. Which reminds me of what Farmer Brown learned in the book Click, Clack, Quack to School, my library read for the week. Farmer Brown is invited to school and is instructed to bring the animals who all become very excited until Farmer Brown weighs them down with all kinds of rules about behaving and being quiet. I don't want to give the ending away, but let's suffice to say that Farmer Brown might have been a bit mistaken and over cautious when he instructed the animals how to behave.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Weather



This past weekend, Bobby and I took a trip to Ohio Amish country to celebrate our October Anniversary and the fifteen years we've traveled the road called life together. The weather was misty and the air slightly chilled, but we didn't let that deter us from enjoying the day. On the ride there, we saw a large flock of wild turkeys. Once there, we parked our car and walked to nearby craft buildings, antique barns, and to an Amish buffet with the most divine broasted chicken.

When we were too tired to walk any more, we headed back to the comfort of our home enjoying a more scenic route than the one we took to begin with. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so the only pictures I have to share are two from my phone.



The book I chose for this week's review fits in quite well with the weather theme above. I chose it before my October Library Board of Trustee meeting purely based on the lovely cover art. The book, titled Red Sky at Night, consists of old sayings about weather, a few of which I had even heard of. As part of the back matter, the book includes a weather wisdom page that describes what each saying means and a little segment about the beautiful paper work the author/illustrator creates.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Kid Lit Family

I didn't post last Monday, so this week you get a double dose of what I've been doing. The reason there was no article last week was because I didn't arrive home until late Sunday evening, and Sunday is the day I usually write my blog. Why did I arrive home so late, you ask. Because I had just spent a wonderful weekend at the home of one of my literary besties in the Tennesseee Smokies.



The generous, talented, and hostess extraordinaire, Debbie Dadey, writer of The Baily School Kids series and The Mermaid Tales, had invited me and three other ladies to her home for a writing retreat. We ate, we took pictures, we wrote, we shared, we critiqued, and had more fun than five squirrels in a sack full of acorns.




I already knew Stephanie Faris and Molly McCaffrey from the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, so it was great to hang out and catch up. But in addition, I had the pleasure of getting to know Rinda Beach, former teacher and pre-published picture book author. It was a melding of YA, Middle Grade, and Picture Book talk that weekend. It was a weekend of bliss.

I took my tripod, in the hopes of getting a group shot for my memory scrapbook, which I did. As I set up, Molly mentioned that she felt like we were posing for a family photo, and in a way she was right. We are a literary family, a tribe, a community, or whatever you want to call a group of people with something in common who chose to focus on similarities and support each other.



I spent this past weekend in a similar vein. I took Emily to a craft fair in Reynoldsburg, Ohio where we shared a table with another of my literary besties, Deborah Boerema, author of one of my favorite Christmas stories, The Inn Keepers Dog. Deb and I only get to visit a few times a year, so I treasure every moment. I bring lunch. She brings dessert. And we talk about all things bookish and life in general.



So this week when I snagged two books from my library book pile, it was fun to see that one was about friends full of imagination and the other was about a book monster. The first, Buddy and Earl Meet the Neighbors, was a fun and wordier than normal picture book. By wordier than normal I mean longer than the current 300 to 500 hundred word industry standard. And you know what? I love longer picture books with a meaty story line.

Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog are trying to decide what to do. Buddy is all set to nap, but Earl uses his imagination to take them on a super hero journey which leads them into the neighbors yard where they meet two new occupants, Mister the bulldog and Snowflake the cat. The four have an adventure of imaginary proportions, advert disaster, and in the end, Buddy finally gets that nap. This book would be a great classroom read aloud leaving room for fun discussions on super heroes, imagination, and friendship.


The second book, Nibbles the Book Monster, blew me away. Full of interactive flaps and cut-outs, this book took me on a journey that followed a book nibbling monster who escaped from his own book and ended up in many other stories where he wreaked havoc. Every page was as delightful as the last and would surely be right for boys and girls from five to eight.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Making New Friends and Alliteration

Hey everyone. I hope the week past left everyone full of joy and energy. I attended a library author event in Fremont, Ohio this past week which was hosted by the Birchard Library. I generally don't sell many books at library events, but I love to visit and talk shop with other writers. I also didn't notice that I was standing under a sign for "Best Sellers". Maybe it's a sign of things to come, lol.


And along the way, I made some new friends like Holly Leemaster from the circulation desk who recently published a book of poetry.



There was Cas Miller, homeschool champion, steam punk dresser-upper, and author.


There was Sally Snyder author of children's books.


And there was Robert J Roman who just happened to be from the neighboring town of Mansfield.


But all this camaraderie didn't make me forget to grab a book from my library pile for review. And this week's review is an outstanding offering full of Onomatopoeia called Wodney Wat's Wobot. Rodney Rat has a problem pronouncing his r's and they all come out sounding like w's until he receives a robot for his birthday. Much to his surprise, Rodney's robot repeats everything he says but with r's in all the right places. Even more surprising is how Rodney uses h is robot to scare the school bully into leaving the school for good.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Library Love

This past week I made an apple pie, went to my monthly Library Board of Trustee Meeting, and changed out the children's display case at my local library. The first was delicious, the second a fruitful endeavor, and the third creatively satisfying. Creating displays about reading is almost as fun as writing.


So when I checked my "to read" pile this week I was overjoyed to find two books about libraries and library books. The first book, The New Libearian, took me to an imaginative library where the librarian went missing and the children hunt for her. But instead of their favorite librarian, they find a new roaring, growling, stomping liBEARian. Hillarity ensues until the real librarian  shows up and restores story time to order.


The second book, The Library Book, told the tale of a young girl's trip to the library one rainy morning. As she tries to decide which book to check out, the characters from great classics come to life and beg to be taken home.


Both these books would make great reads for the five to eight crowd. So run to your library to check them out. And if your library doesn't have them yet, be sure to ask your librarian to order them!

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Birthday Celebration and A Mustard Seed



This past Friday, Bobby, Emily, and I traveled to Kentucky to celebrate his aunt's 85th birthday. His sister also drove his mother down from Ohio, so she too could share in her sister's mile stone. It started out as a lovely weekend. Bobby's cousin put us up, his aunt was pleasantly surprised at all the unexpected guests, and his cousin went all out cooking us a fabulous dinner. Saturday was to be the bigger party with family and friends, but part way through the day, my mother-in-law had a stroke.

Thankfully, the Good Lord had a plan, and my sister-in-law noticed right away and took her to the emergency room. Bobby, who had been on his way home from a car show with his cousin's husband, were able to meet them at the hospital, and the rest of us showed up shortly after sending the party guests home.

As we sat in the waiting room, I prayed that the Lord would have mercy on us and not take Emily's only remaining grandparent home. Finally, after what seemed like an infinitely long time, they told us that it had been a mild stroke, and she was already recovering.

And wouldn't you know that when we arrived home and I checked my book pile for something to review, I found a beautiful book titled The Marvelous Mustard Seed which described how God's Kingdom is like a tiny mustard seed that is barely noticeable at first but with a little watering turns into a huge mustard tree that is unable to be missed.


So as I sit here thinking about God's plan for us, I can see that the small and unnoticeable fact that my mother-in-law decided to travel, a woman who hasn't traveled to see her sister in over three years because of other health issues and would normally have been sitting home alone on a Saturday, was put in motion by him. Because she chose to make the trip, she was with family who helped her get immediate attention, and she is still here with us!

P. S. We did manage to still celebrate with Bobby's Aunt even though it turned out to be just family.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, table and indoor

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.



Monday, September 17, 2018

The Best Mother

For all you mothers out there who know the ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and roller coaster ride of motherhood, I salute you. Emily turned thirteen this year and it has involved lots of time spent in her room, eye rolls, and, "whatevers." In addition, it has involved offers to help around the house, thank-yous for taking her to a multitude of parties and events, and "mom I need a hug" comments.

She has also started to show a maturity formerly not shown, so I have been able to leave her at home to work on her school work by herself. I have also been able to get her to do work on the evenings and weekends without complaint. This past weekend was such an occasion. I left her with instruction to work on history and  health, while I attended the SCBWI Ohio North Conference, so that she can forgo a day of school next Friday when we travel to Kentucky to celebrate her Great Aunt Zella's 85th birthday.



The conference was fantastic, I attended wonderfully informative sessions, caught up with friends, and left rejuvenated and ready to go back to the laundry, household chores, and my beautiful, funny, complicated teen.


So when it came time to grab the last book in my reading pile this week, I had to smile. Why? Because it was a book titled The Best Mother. The Best Mother is a tale of a girl who is unhappy with the mother she has and wishes to find a new mother that will give her own way all of the time. She believes she will find this new mother at either the park, the toy store, or the zoo. She questions many mothers only to find in the end that her old mother is really the best mother for her.


And you know what? I know that I am the best mother for Emily. I was not put on this earth to make her happy. I was put on this earth to teach her right from wrong,  to teach her about faith, to help her build her self esteem, to know she is loved, to expand her mind, to think for herself, to keep her safe, to learn how to make good choices, and so much more. And one day when she is a kind, compassionate, intelligent, productive part of society, she too will know I was the best mother.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.




Monday, September 10, 2018

Accomplishments

This past week was a busy one, but we got a lot accomplished at the Stewart house. I spent two days canning peaches for winter and Christmas gifts, we worked hard on school work, and Bobby placed the last piece of trim in our basement remodel. After the flood of '07, our finished basement had to be torn out and a water proof system put in. For one reason or another, it took us eleven years to get it put back together, but now it's done except for carpet on the stairs. You can't imagine my joy at finally being able to put out my beloved book mementos. Books by friends, items from book fairs attended, and other assorted bric-a-brac.





I also read two fun books. The first book, The Big Bug Ball, is quite old, but worth checking to see if your library has a copy.  Told in imple rhyme, it is the story of  bugs of every kind and the big dance they attend. The poor little sow bug is nervous about the event because she can't dance, but in the end, all turns out well. If your library doesn't have a coy, but  you'd like to add it to your own collection, you might find a used copy on Amazon.


The second book I read just came out this year and while sparse on words, it is big on fun. How to Grow a Dinosaur is a perfect book for youngsters with a new sibling on the way. It explains how important the role of older brother or sister is and how an older is crucial to raising or growing a good younger.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.